How to Quickly Thaw Ground Beef

Forgot to take that ground beef out of the freezer this morning and now it’s 4:00 and your kids are begging for tacos? Never fear – I’m going to show you to freeze your ground beef so you can thaw it quickly – in under 20 minutes – with no microwaving!

Ziploc bag of ground beef on a counter

One of those meals was my dad’s “famous” (in our house anyway) meatloaf. I’ll share the recipe with you later in the week, but I wanted to first share a little tip with you that I learned not too long ago that has made my life a heck of a lot easier.

If you already knew this, do me a favor and humor me, k?

Social media image of How to Thaw Ground Beef Fast

I like to buy the bulk size packages of ground beef, but because we are a small family, I can actually get four meals out of a package.

I used to just cut the package in four equal parts and wrap and freeze it in a big chunk. But it would take FOREVER to thaw, and forget it if you just decided on the way home that you were making tacos. There was just no time to thaw the meat, and I hate thawing meat on my kitchen counter.

Sooooo I remember this trick a friend taught me and today I packaged up my meat like so:

Ziploc bag of ground beef on a counter
A plastic bag with ground beef

After cutting the four equal chunks, I placed each portion in a sandwich size ziploc bag, flattened the meat, squeezed out as much air as possible, and placed them all in a larger bag.

I labeled the individual bag with the portion size (in this case it’s just less than a pound).

Flattening the meat makes for much less thawing time. In fact, just place the bag in a bowl of COLD water and it takes less than 30 minutes to thaw!

A bowl of water with plastic wrapped ground beef

You now have your meat ready to make my dad’s “famous” meatloaf…

Bowl with ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and ketchup

or any other of a variety of options.

I’ll share the meatloaf recipe with you later this week, as well as show you how I do this entire process, from frozen ground beef to hot, tasty meatloaf in under an hour.

What’s your favorite tip from the kitchen?

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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  1. Thank you a thousand times for your tip – this has helped me out tremendously – cheers from Canada

  2. I know this post is years old but I found it when I was looking for ways to quickly thaw ground beef. My darling boyfriend threw the entire 2 pound chunk of ground beef in the freezer so I guess we aren’t having that tonight. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. You can do this with any meat. That’s what I have done for years, with chicken, pork chops, etc. As long as it’s COLD water, there’s no chance of bacteria growth from not thawing it in the refrigerator.